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TOUCH

She’s got that invisible…

By Walter, author of The Fifth Defiance

Jan 26, 2018: [Disclaimers: First, I am doing this as part of a review swap. Second, Touch is still a young serial at this point, with only its first arc available for review. What you read may bear little resemblance to what I’m reviewing by the time you read this]

Touch takes place in a world like, but not exactly like, our own, where superpowered folks clash in a parallel world that most people aren’t aware of.

The Highs:

Touch’s author has a lot of confidence, and believes in the reader’s ability to piece together information from context. The narrative flow is not interrupted to do world building, rather they occur as components of one another.

The characters in the story are well formed and familiar enough to not need pages and pages of introduction, but distinct enough form their archetypes that they will still surprise you.

The story itself is a LOT less predictable than I thought it would be going in. I’ve read a lot of fiction, and I’d guess Touch’s author has too, consistently jinking my expectations.

The younger characters manage to be neither excessively twee nor the ‘adults in kid shaped containers’ that populate so many stories.

The Lows:

The author hasn’t mastered the trick of getting the motivations of the characters and the readers to align. A traumatized child desperately wants to get back to his ‘normal’ existence, which we have never seen and presumably didn’t come to read about. A busy character is eager to get teleporting across the world and being awesome over with so they can go back to their office, etc. It creates a tension where you don’t want them to succeed, but rooting against a POV character who is also an abused child is also not in the cards.

Our lack of knowledge about what the society knows is getting acute. We need to know what the baseline people know.

Overall:

It wouldn’t be responsible to give an overall with just this to work with. Thus far, the series is enjoyable and page turning, but it is also getting a lot of boost from swerving expectations and introducing twists. It will be very interesting to see how the author digs in with the second arc, as the dominoes they’ve set up begin to fall.

In place of an assessment let me say this. I’ll be reading on to find out what happens next.

3 of 3 members found this review helpful.
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TOUCH

Worth the read, and worth reading the warning.

By revfitz, author of Existential Terror and Breakfast

Dec 18, 2017: Disclaimer: This review was written as a part of a review swap.

Touch is one of the few things I have read that truly deserves a content warning at the start. I used to balk at things like this. Literature, in my opinion, should never be held to the same ridiculously Victorian standards as television or film. If something is offensive, or dark, well, that’s art. I am glad that this one was up front, however.

Touch deals with the sexual abuse of children, and it deals with it by using a super power allegory. It does so with tact, and so far, rather responsibly, but it is a heavy subject that is not normally dealt with in this genre. I’ll get to more of this in a moment.

First, the prose itself has a good beat to it. Long time fans of the super hero genre that is so popular with online serials might find parts of it to be too contemplative or slow. Though I understand this objection, considering that many in the genre are very fast paced or full of action, I felt that it worked very well here. I personally had no problem with the pace and quite enjoyed the intimate inner workings of the characters. Frankly, the strength of this writer is shown in spades in the very first chapter (a combination of psych notes/ transcripts). I’m not sure if a fast pace would do the dark subject mater that the author is dealing with justice, and in fact, at least early on, would probably gloss it over in a way that was jarring.

The characters are, as of this writing, fully fleshed out. I have yet to encounter one (even a minor character) that felt flat or one dimensional. The dialog was very smooth and believable.

I also found the writing to be VERY clean and polished. My reader’s flow was never broken because of technical errors. However, the heavy topic of child abuse meant that I did have to leave the serial alone between chapters, least my own sanity be shattered.

As of this writing, Touch is in a very early stage. We are still well within the first act and though I get the feeling that once it ramps up, it will do so quickly, it is taking its time to get there. Again, I personally have no problem with this, but I am a multi genre reader. Someone who identifies squarely as an action reader may lose interest.

Because the serial is still early in its story I will likely return and review it again in the future, but at this time it is a good read and was worth my time, though I may now have some empathetic PTSD to deal with.

3 of 3 members found this review helpful.
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TOUCH

Just Like The Rating Says: Surprisingly Solid

By Rhodeworks, author of Not All Heroes

Mar 8, 2018: (Review up to 2.7)

Like others have said, I do not think Touch is the story for me. As a teacher, I have issues with reading this sort of thing. It can be too close to home. I feel it is important to note, however, that Touch isn’t gratuitous with its subject matter.

With that out of the way, Touch is actually fairly well-written. The writing is solid, among some of the better stuff I’ve read here. There are some minor issues with style (fairly frequent usage of ‘the boy [said]’ or ‘the girl [said]’, which can feel very alienating and dehumanizing) but the flow is generally good. It is slow but it doesn’t feel like it is dragging. I noted a few repeated words and phrases (Casper does a lot of groaning, for example—it feels like a lot of people groan, really).

The children feel like children. Perhaps not perfectly, there are times where they slip into sounding a bit too much like adults, but better than I expected. I won’t lie—when I read the info on this page, I was initially fairly hesitant. There have been a few sections, however, where I’m not sure whether the authorial voice has made an inadvertent error or if it’s an issue of a child’s perspective (for example, summing up a woman as ‘blonde’ but the man next to her as ‘Asian’).

I did not note many grammar or spelling issues but there are more of the former than the latter (minor things like capitalization, rogue quotation marks mostly). There are some minor things I’d do differently, typically to render over-complexity down to simplicity, turn some big meandering paragraphs into multiple smaller ones, but it didn’t take me out of the reading.

One thing I think Touch does really well is how the chapters begin and end. Personally, I rate this as one of the more important parts of writing: strong endings and strong beginnings, both in general and chapter-by-chapter.

I feel the perspective changes mid-chapter aren’t ideal, particularly when they happen more than once. This is pretty subjective, however. Similarly, I thought especially that the Name: headers for each change were unnecessary.

Beyond that, if there’s one thing that stuck out to me as an issue, is that I don’t feel like I had a good idea of the world. I feel like, as a reader, I don’t know what the average person knows and that my expectations are somehow in a state of total flux but constantly being pulled out from under me.

All in all, Touch surprised me. That’s what I remember most about it, how it surprised me with its quality and how it handled its subject matter with care.

I recommend Touch, if you can handle the subject matter. It has a good, strong start—it’ll be interesting to see if it can hold its course and stick the landing, whatever it may be.

I plan to revisit Touch in the future and adjust this review. But for now, I feel this is a good overview of what you can expect.

3 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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